Last night, under a collection of aviation aircraft in the MOTAT Aviation Hall, the magazine industry gathered to celebrate the achievements of its products and people at the 2017 Magazine Media Awards.
While it was Jaquie Brown playing the role of host and injecting some humour into the night, it was Kowhai Media director James Frankham who discussed the importance of the event as he took to the lectern to open the evening.
It’s been a turbulent time for the media industry, he said, but he went on to explain that the talent on display during the night was a sign magazines have a long way to go before they join the surrounding planes as relics.
And no better was this shown than in the new brands on show with Bauer's Paperboy, Nadia and Miss FQ publications. All up, it was Bauer’s night as it won 20 of the 47 awards handed out.
Among its publications, it was Nadia that was crowned 2017 Supreme Magazine of the Year for its innovative entry that ticked all of the boxes. The judges awarded it full marks for its editorial vision, journalistic craft and a smart business and distribution model.
Reflecting on the publication's win this morning, editor in chief Shelley Ferguson says that when Nadia was launched in August last year, the team knew Nadia Lim was popular and recognised by New Zealanders, but the big question was, ‘would the magazine sell?’. And if the accolade of Supreme Magazine of the Year is anything to go by, it has.
“It was a really big first year and we were realistic. It definitely exceeded our expectations in the first year which is really really exciting.”
The Nadia magazine team celebrating the win
But it’s not only a win for Bauer, Ferguson says, as it’s a positive outcome for the industry as it shows there’s still strong print opportunities as well as opportunities in the digital space, events and even apps.
“All of those people there last night have utterly embraced this new world and it’s really exciting. We’re not in that phase of 10 years ago, going ‘how are we going to deal with the new landscape?’, we’re living it," she says.
“Imagine what we’ll be celebrating in 10 years, the MMAs in 10 years will probably be completely different again.”
The other major award, 2017 Supreme Editor of the Year, went to NZ Marketing and StopPress editor Damien Venuto for his excellent job of taking a title down in frequency but up in interest and compelling content.
"He’s given the title personality and taken risks, making a potentially dry topic engaging," they said, adding Venuto’s innovative approach made him the front-runner in this highly competitive field.
“This editor is embracing today’s multi-platform publishing environment and fast-paced digital culture.”
When Venuto took to the stage to receive the award, he acknowledged the high calibre of talent in the room and expressed how surprised and honored he was to be the recipient. He also credited his wider Tangible team, his family who have seen him through the long hours, and mentor Ben Fahy—who two years ago picked up the same award while editor of NZ Marketing.
It was a night of praises for the people who support the winners, with John Baker also taking the time to acknowledge his family and colleagues as he accepted the prestigious Magazine Media Lifetime Achievement Award.
Baker has been contributing to the industry since 1992 and while he made a comment that he wasn’t old enough to be acknowledged for a lifetime achievement, the judges thought otherwise.
“John has made a decades-long contribution to the industry that has helped drive and, at times, reinvent the shape of our market presence, conversations and success,” said the judges. “He has clearly been a big part of MPA strategy and output of numerous committees over the years.”
It was Mike Hutcheson and Paul Dykzeul who announced Baker as the recipient and they took the time share a few anecdotes from their years with Baker, while also commenting on his move to the "dark side" after he departed from his role as CEO of Tangible Media to step into Lassoo Media & PR as managing director. Among their praises of Baker were also a few remarks about his commonly said phrases of speech, which the crowd was then asked to listen out for as he did his speech. It made for many laughs amid an otherwise emotional win.
Mike Hutcheson, John Baker, Paul Dykzeul.
This year, the coveted Rising Star Award was given out in two categories: Editorial and Commercial. Bauer Media received both awards, with Georgina Bramley picking up the former while David Owen picked up the latter.
Also demonstrating award-winning rise was Paperboy, which launched in October last year targeting those who don’t typically read magazines. It’s aimed at Auckland’s urban adventurers by being distributed via selected letterboxes, cafes and public transport hubs in Auckland and the judges considered it a gutsy move by Bauer.
“It’s paid off, and the rising brand that is Paperboy has quickly integrated itself into Auckland culture with smart content and an innovative distribution strategy,” they said.
Also coming out on top were the magazines Nadia, NZ Gardener, NZ Marketing, Healthy Food Guide and last year’s supreme winner New Zealand Geographic, which came up on top in their respective categories.
The best journalist awards went to RebeccaHayter – (Wilderness & Boating New Zealand), Alice Neville (Cuisine), Elly Strang (NZ Retail and Idealog) and Clair McCall (NZ Life & Leisure).
The best Magazine 360 went to Fashion Quarterly for its demonstration of leadership and influence in the fashion category. The full 360 range includes Fashion Quarterly, Miss FQ, FQ Life, FQ.co.nz and MissFQ.co.nz, and judges believe it shows smart, brave, strategic thinking and demonstrated tangible financial success.
“FQ is a great example of a 360° approach to publishing,” they said.
Three new awards celebrating commercial success in the industry included Best Digital Brand, won by Bauer’s Homes to Love, while Woman’s Day won the new Gordon & Gotch Exceptional Retail Sales Award with its top-selling 'Ritchie and Gemma: Wedding of Our Dreams' issue.
The inaugural MPA Award for Excellence in Magazine Retailing was won by Relay and The Pluto Group cleaned up the Best Publishing Innovation/Brand Extension and Best Content Marketing Campaign with campaigns by Homestyle.
Judges said Homestyle’s entry in the Best Publishing Innovation was a clear winner in the category and “a brilliant example of extending the skill of the editorial team beyond the page to deliver a strong commercial result”.
In the design categories, it was Tangible Media that dominated, winning three of the five categories. It’s designers Yifan (Wade) Wu (NZ Marketing/StopPress and Idealog) and Lisa Lodge (Good) were recognised while Kenyon Enterprises’ Hannah Lawless (Together Journal) and The Pluto Group’s Juliette Wanty (Homestyle) were also winners in their categories.
And of course, none of the night’s awards would have been possible had it not have been for the presence of strong sales teams. In the Consumer category, it was Bauer’s Rachel McLean (Australian Market & Women's Weekly / Lifestyle New Zealand) and Guy Slater (New Zealand Listener, Metro, Paperboy, Noted.co.nz) who were acknowledged for their contributions to their publications.
The judges commended both for creating unique approaches to their roles.
While it was Brown who read out the judges comments to explain why each winner deserved their title, it was clear to all why the Best Covers were selected as they were proudly displayed on the big screen. Little Treasures, New Zealand Geographic, Home New Zealand, Dairy Exporter and Miss FQ won in their respective categories.
After all the accolades were handed out, Bauer ended up with the biggest haul with 20 awards, followed by Tangible Media with eight, Fairfax Media with four, The Pluto Group and Kōwhai Media both with three, and Lifestyle Magazine and Kenyon Enterprises with two each.
“The overall standard of entries this year was extremely high and this led to some robust debate in deciding the winners of many categories,” said the judges. “It was great to see innovation, flair and an increased quality in the entries.”
To see the full list of winners, click here.